Royal Papworth Hospital

Royal Papworth Hospital is the UK's leading heart and lung hospital, located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in Cambridgeshire, England. It is also the country's biggest cardiothoracic transplant centre, having carried out more heart and lung transplants in 2018/19 than any other hospital.[1] In April 2019, following the construction of a new hospital, it began its relocation from its previous location in the village of Papworth Everard to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, treating its first patients in the new hospital on 1 May 2019. The old hospital was home to numerous medical firsts, including the first successful heart transplant in the UK, the world's first successful heart, lung and liver transplant,[2] and one of the world's first non-beating-heart transplants.[3]

Royal Papworth Hospital
Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The new hospital
Location within Cambridgeshire
LocationCambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
Coordinates52.173618°N 0.135626°E / 52.173618; 0.135626
Care systemPublic NHS
Hospital typeSpecialist
Affiliated universityUniversity of Cambridge Medical School
Emergency departmentNo Accident & Emergency
SpecialityCardiothoracic hospital
ListsHospitals in England


Papworth Hospital was founded at Papworth Everard in 1918 as a sanitorium for the treatment of tuberculosis among discharged soldiers who had served in the First World War, following a campaign led by Elsbeth Dimsdale, and was initially known as the “Cambridgeshire Tuberculosis Colony”.[4] The institution was initially under the direction of Dr (later Sir) Pendrill Varrier-Jones.[5][6][7] From the 1950s, surgical facilities developed, beginning with thoracic (chest/lung) surgery and expanding to cardiac surgery. Surgeon Ben Milstein performed the first open-heart surgery at Papworth Hospital in September 1958.[8][9]

In August 1979, surgeon Terence English performed the first successful heart transplant in the UK at Papworth Hospital. The patient, Keith Castle, lived for over five years following his surgery.[10] In February 1980, 23 year old male nurse Paul Coffey became Britain's thirteenth heart transplant patient, when he was given the heart of a woman who had died in a car crash, by surgeons at Papworth Hospital.[11] In February 1986 Paul Coffey and some of his friends started the 'T' Planters Club which held annual fundraising dinners; the ‘T’ was in recognition of the pioneer surgeon Sir Terence English. In the four years since the ‘T’–Planters Club was founded and when it closed in 1990 the total sum raised by the members and friends was £109,917.[12]

In 1986, alongside a team from Addenbrooke's Hospital, the world's first heart-lung and liver transplant took place at Papworth Hospital. Surgeons John Wallwork and Roy Calne performed the operation on 35-year-old Davina Thompson.[13]

In August 1994 a team of doctors carried out a revolutionary operation when 62-year-old Arthur Cornhill was given the world's first permanent battery-operated heart.[14]

In December 2013 it was announced that the hospital would move to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus next to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. Implementation of the scheme was temporarily delayed,[15] following an intervention by HM Treasury, while the Trust investigated an alternative proposal of moving to the Peterborough City Hospital site, a concept to which there was considerable opposition given the financial problems at that hospital.[16] In March 2015, the hospital announced that its move to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus was being procured under a private finance initiative contract.[17] The construction works, which were carried out by Skanska at a cost of £165 million, started immediately.[18]

In May 2014, a new CT Scanner was unveiled at the old hospital by its royal patron, the Duchess of Gloucester.[19]

In September 2017, Papworth Hospital was granted the designation “royal” by the Queen and so became Royal Papworth Hospital in January 2018.[20]

The new hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus treated its first patients in May 2019.[21] It was officially opened by the Queen on 9 July 2019.[22]

Fundraising is also taking place for a Heart and Lung Research Institute, a joint venture between Royal Papworth Hospital and the University of Cambridge, to be built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus adjacent to the new hospital.[23]


Following the construction of the new Royal Papworth Hospital, all services are housed in one purpose-built building. Sub-specialities include:[24]


Teams at Royal Papworth have conducted the most heart transplants every year in the UK since 2008/09, with the best risk-adjusted survival rates. Its 30-day, one-year and five-year survival rates were the best in the country, with the lowest decline rates.[25]

On 2 November 2007 it was announced that Papworth Hospital would suspend heart transplant activities while an investigation was undertaken into an unexplained rise in recipient mortality rates.[26] The Hospital was given the all-clear on 19 November 2007 after the Healthcare Commission ruled the quality of care was good.[27]

Papworth Hospital was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the top hundred NHS trusts to work for in 2015. At that time it had 1677 full-time equivalent staff and a sickness absence rate of 3.63%. 92% of staff recommend it as a place for treatment and 75% recommended it as a place to work.[28]

In a 2016 survey of 242 hospitals in England it had the fastest responding telephone switchboard, with an average response time of 3 seconds.[29]

In October 2019, Royal Papworth Hospital was rated as 'outstanding' by the health regulator Care Quality Commission. It became the first NHS hospital trust to ever be awarded the top mark of 'outstanding' in each of the five key inspection domains.[30]

In a 2019 survey by the American magazine Newsweek, Royal Papworth Hospital was named as one of the best 100 specialist hospitals in the world.[31]

Notable patients

On 23 December 2011, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, then 90 years of age, underwent successful coronary angioplasty and stenting at Papworth Hospital.[32][33]

In 2016 Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, UK, underwent heart transplantation for heart failure secondary to viral myocarditis.[34]

See also


  1. "Organ Donation and Transplant Activity Report" (PDF). NHS Blood and Transplant. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  2. "Pioneering surgeons recall first triple transplant operation". BBC. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  3. correspondent, Fergus Walsh Medical (26 March 2015). "Europe's first non-beating heart transplant". BBC News. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  4. "Papworth, Cambridgeshire: TB Treatment". BBC. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  5. "Munks Roll Details for Pendrill Charles (Sir) Varrier-Jones". Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  6. Bryder, Linda (October 1984). "Papworth Village Settlement – a unique experiment in the treatment and care of the tuberculous?". Medical History. 28 (4): 372–390. doi:10.1017/s0025727300036267. PMC 1140011. PMID 6390031.
  7. Clare Mulley, The Woman Who Saved the Children
  8. Wallwork, John (4 June 2013). "Ben Milstein obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  9. "From the heart – with thanks". BBC. 30 September 1998. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  10. "The Glasgow Herald – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  11. "Heart Transplant: Paul Coffey". macearchive. ATV. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  12. "The 'T'– Planters" (PDF). BCPA Journal (186): 13. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  13. Helen Burchell and Katy Prickett (17 December 2016). "Pioneering surgeons recall first triple transplant operation". BBC News Online. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  14. "1994: Man gets 'bionic' heart". BBC. 26 August 1994. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  15. Papworth heart and lung specialist hospital to move, BBC News, 3 December 2013, retrieved 14 February 2014
  16. "Papworth hospital's future in doubt after Treasury intervention", The Guardian, 14 February 2014, retrieved 14 February 2014
  17. "New Papworth Hospital". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  18. "Projects: How the Royal Papworth Hospital has health at heart". Building. 9 May 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  19. "Court Circular". 30 April 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  20. "Papworth Hospital granted royal title by Queen". BBC. 21 September 2017.
  21. "Papworth hospital opens to patients after move to Cambridge". BBC. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  22. "Queen visits Cambridge to open Papworth Hospital and plant tree". BBC. 9 July 2019. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  23. "Expanding the heart and lungs of medicine". University of Cambridge. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  24. "Services". Royal Papworth Hospital. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  25. "ANNUAL REPORT ON CARDIOTHORACIC ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION". NHS Blood and Transplant. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  26. Papworth halts heart transplants, BBC News, 2 November 2007, retrieved 2 November 2007
  27. Heart hospital gets the all-clear, BBC News, 19 November 2007, retrieved 19 November 2007
  28. "HSJ reveals the best places to work in 2015". Health Service Journal. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  29. "The call must go out to improve hospital switchboard services". Health Service Journal. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  30. "Royal Papworth becomes first hospital to be rated 'outstanding' across all areas by CQC". ITV News. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  31. "World's Best Hospitals 2019". Newsweek. 3 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  32. Reuters (24 December 2011). "Surgery sidelines Prince Philip". The Gazette. Montreal. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  33. Peter Hunt (24 December 2011), Prince Philip has heart procedure at Papworth Hospital, BBC, retrieved 24 December 2011
  34. Association, Press (8 December 2016). "Mark Serwotka has heart transplant at Papworth". The Guardian.
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